I Wasn’t Aware Onnoghen Was Suspended Before I Was Sworn In, Onnoghen Remains Substantive CJN- Justice Tanko Muhammad
Tanko also said President Muhammadu Buhari does not need the approval of the NJC to swear him in as the acting CJN but added that Justice Walter Onnoghen remains the substantive CJN as he was only suspended.
He said: “In my respectful view, the National Judicial Council has no role to play in the appointment of an acting Chief Justice of Nigeria in the first instance, that is to say on first appointment. The council comes in where the appointment as the acting CJN is to be renewed or extended. I humbly refer to Section 231(4) of the 1999 Constitution.
“It was for the larger interest of the judiciary and the constitutionality that I accepted to be sworn in as acting CJN with the conviction that if the order of January 23, 2019, is eventually set aside, the status quo would be restored.”
He maintained that while Onnoghen is under suspension, “there should be no vacuum in the office of the CJN and the chairman of the NJC.”